Tag Archives: Mary Mares-Awe

Cristina Sisson is the recipient of the 2016 Dee Sarelas Fulbright Service Award

By Teuta PejaSOME 100 GUESTS  gathered on Friday, January 27, 2017 at the elegant auditorium and reception space of the Alliance Française de Chicago, for the  the Chicago Chapter of the Fulbright Association Winter Holiday reception and Dee Sarelas Award ceremony.

Among the attendees were  Fulbright alumni, current visiting Fulbright  scholars, Fulbright students, eight members of the Chapter’s Board of Directors, friends, and family. The event was co-sponsored by the  Institute of International Education (IIE).

Left to right, the organizing Holidays event and Dee Sarelas Committee: Kevin Spitta, Elio Leturia, Marilyn Sussman, 2016 Dee Sarelas awardee Cristina Sisson, Mary Mares-Awe, Teuta Peja, Meredith McNeal and Yasir Al-Ibrahem. Ron Harvey (not pictured) could not be present since he is teaching in Bulgaria.

Guests enjoyed socializing with each other, exchanging Fulbright experiences and intercultural discussions. The attendees represented some 40 countries from around the world.

Fulbright alumni and guests enjoyed a pleasant celebration with great food at the Alliance Française in Chicago.

Delicious appetizers, desserts and drinks were shared by all attendees.

The delicious buffet style food served at the Winter Reception included vegetarian options and complemented the festive atmosphere. A jazz trio of  musicians from Columbia College Chicago provided the entertainment for almost three hours.

A Columbia College Chicago jazz trio offered live music during the event.

A group of visiting Fulbright students commented on the pleasant space and  added that events like this create a wonderful opportunity to mingle, get to know other Fulbrighters and exchange advice about living and studying in Chicago.

The President of the Chicago Chapter of the Fulbright Association, Mary Mares-Awe welcomed guests with a heartwarming speech highlighting the mission of  Fulbright to promote mutual understanding between the people of the United States, and citizens of almost every nation on earth —through cultural, scientific, and educational exchange. She also thanked board members for volunteering their time and being dedicated to the Fulbright mission and its ideals.

The special part of the evening was the announcement of the winner of the prestigious biennial Dee Sarelas Fulbright Service Award. The award is given in recognition to a person who has worked diligently over the years to promote and carry out the Fulbright Mission.  This year’s recipient is Ana Cristina Sisson, a long-time, dedicated Chicago Chapter member.

Cristina Sisson delivers her acceptance speech as the 2016 Fulbright Dee Sarelas Service Award recipient.

Ana Cristina Sisson holds a bachelor’s degree as a double major in Spanish and English from Colby College in Maine, and a Master’s degree in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago. She was with Fulbright English Teaching Assistant program in Uruguay in 2006.

Cristina joined the Fulbright Association and the Chicago Chapter in 2008. Since joining the chapter, she has played a vital role in organizing many cultural and educational activities and events for thousands of Fulbrighters. She has also served in the position of Chapter treasurer until 2016.

In addition to her commitment to her young family and to the Fulbright Chapter, Cristina teaches Spanish at Hinsdale District One-Eighty-One. Prior to that, she taught Spanish at the Ogden International School of Chicago, and the Chase Elementary Magnet Cluster School in Chicago.

“In the spirit of service, Cristina has been an integral part of the board, serving in her portion in a totally volunteer status. Those who chose to do so, do it out or their dedication to the Fulbright mission.  Cristina so richly deserves this award…because she’s done a tremendous job and is truly an inspirational person.”       — Mary Mares-Awe, President, Fulbright Chicago

Fulbrighters from all over the world gathered at the Holidays event.

Traditionally, the previous award recipient presents the award to the new Dee Sarelas recipient, but this year it was different. The 2014 Dee Sarelas awardee, Ron Harvey, the Vice President of the Fulbright Chicago Chapter, was not present at the event because he is on a Fulbright research and teaching fellowship to Bulgaria.

The Holiday event and Dee Sarelas Award Ceremony was very-well attended. It has become the main Fulbright Chicago event of the year.

Current Fulbright students attending Columbia College Chicago. From left to right, Cyril Bassil (Lebanon,) Calisto Lemashon (Kenya,) Shreya Singh (India) and Melissa M. Jiménez (Trinidad and Tobago.)

But although Ron could not be present in person, he recorded a short video speech that was played at the ceremony.  In his speech, Ron emphasizing Cristina’s friendliness, her engagement with the Fulbright Chicago Chapter, and her enthusiasm to promoting the values of the intercultural exchange through educational activities.

“Cristina is great at bringing the people together; she would invite visiting Fulbright over for dinners with her family as well as other Fulbrighters and expose our way of doing things with the visiting Fulbrighters. Cristina has the belief that you do not have to be official to have an impact in people. I can’t think of a better person to receive the Dee Sarelas service award”Ron Harvey, Vice President, Fulbright Chicago

Fulbright Chicago president Mary Mares Awe talking to the Fulbright students, scholars and alumni.

Upon the acceptance of the award, Cristina remembered her Fulbright year in Uruguay working with the public-school teachers and her work with the Chicago Chapter board upon her return to the US.  In her inspirational speech, Cristina spoke of Fulbrighers sharing the will and excitement of working toward making a difference in the community.

2010 Dee Sarelas recipient and Fulbright Chicago board member Dr. Marilyn Susman and Fulbright student Teuta Peja welcomed the attendees.

She encouraged people to join the board and participate in Fulbright-focused activities.  She urged everyone to get involved in activities even though they may be out of their scope of work.  She also advised people not to let the fear of not knowing what the job entails, to get in the way of participating… “When there is a need, take a risk.” She said in referencing her own resolve to take up the position of treasurer, when there was a need for someone to step into the role.

Cristina wrapped up her speech by emphasizing the Fulbright mission and legacy.

“I wanted to leave you all with Senator Fulbright’s words, to inspire us to visit local schools, ask a professor to visit their child’s school and talk about the Fulbright program, the mission and your home country or where you traveled.  Don’t let the fear of being overwhelmed get in the way…”

Fulbrighters using social media and sharing photos.

After hearing the speeches, Manithda a visiting Fulbright student from Laos, said “The award ceremony made people get to know and appreciate people behind the scene more. I didn’t know who were the people behind the scene who did the good for people in the front until that award ceremony. This encourages me to want to help and voluntarily work with the Fulbright  organizing group.”

Baris Mesci, a Visiting Student Researcher from Turkey and his wife Tutku Mizrak Mesci.

The guests congratulated Cristina on her award and praised the organizers —the members of the board—  for putting up such an amazing event.

—Photos by Kevin Spitta and Elio Leturia

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Fulbright Chicago Winter Reception at the Alliance Française

holiday-17-dee

By Mary Mares-Awe—THE CHICAGO CHAPTER of the Fulbright Association and the Institute of International Education (IIE) invite you, your family, colleagues and friends to attend our Winter Reception and the *Dee Sarelas Fulbright Service Award Ceremony.

This event will present a wonderful opportunity to mingle with fellow Fulbrighters, make new connections, and solidify friendships while spending the evening in Downtown Chicago.

DATE Friday, January 27, 2017
TIME  6:00p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
LOCATION  Alliance Française, 810 N Dearborn Street, Chicago, IL 60610    phone (312) 337-1070


COST FREE to current visiting Fulbright Students and Scholars, $20 for each accompanying adult family member and/or guests, Fulbright Alumni and Association Members.
RSVPs are required by January 25, 2917!  Please R.S.V.P. and pay by using the online form or click on the link below:
https://goo.gl/forms/Bro5Lo0RnSRiydWq1
DRESS CODE Business attire is required; no jeans, t-shirts or athletic shoes.
Email questions or cancellations to fulbrightchicago@gmail.com

*Aphrodite “Dee” Floros Sarelas was an early Fulbrighter to Greece. Dee was a Chicagoan dedicated to interacting with, and nurturing Fulbrighters in the Chicago area.
She was a person remembered for her wit, empathy, and vivacity in bringing people across cultures together. Her educational background and professional experiences in the field of Social Work prepared her well for contributions to our chapter and beyond – as an administrator for the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army Training College, as a liaison at White House conferences, as a special consultant to Voice of America, and as editor of Social Welfare in Underdeveloped Countries (United Nations publication). For the foregoing reasons, the Dee Sarelas Fulbright Service Award has been established in her memory.

We look forward to seeing you at this event!

Warm tango sounds in Chicago through Tita Lage’s voyage

By Mary Mares-Awe–ON WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 23, 2016 during a rainy  evening, members of the Chicago Chapter of the Fulbright Association, visiting Fulbright students, and other guests had the opportunity to attend a Tango inspired event at the Instituto Cervantes and listen to the warm sound of Tango music, and view a film showcasing the life of a centennial double immigrant.

Instituto Cervantes of Chicago Executive Director Antonio Martínez welcomed the audience.

Instituto Cervantes of Chicago Executive Director Antonio Martínez welcomed the audience.

The bilingual documentary entitled “Tita Turns 100” (Los 100 Años de Tita,) is produced and directed by Elio Leturia, who is a multimedia journalist and a member of the Chicago Chapter Board.

The biographical film that premiered at the Chicago Feminist Film Festival in March this year,  takes the audience on a journey of the life of Tita Lage, a lovely lady who was born in Spain in 1913, moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina, at age 17 and finally relocated to the United States when she was 73 in 1986, bringing with her the love of tango music and dance along with her Spanish roots.

Tita became a naturalized US citizen the day she turned 102 years old.

"Por una Cabeza," "Uno," "Se Dice de Mí," were some of the tangos local singer Alba Guerra shared with the audience along with guitarist Juan Pablo Jones.

“Por una Cabeza,” “Uno,” “Se Dice de Mí,” were some of the tangos local singer Alba Guerra shared with the audience along with guitarist Juan Pablo Jones.

titapostcardFollowing the film screening, local singer and actress Alba Guerra, one of Tita’s daughters, sang beautiful, traditional Tango songs to the accompaniment of guitar musician Juan Ignacio Jones.

After the concert, guests were treated to a reception featuring Argentinian wine, and Peruvian empanadas and alfajores.

The Chicago Chapter of the Fulbright Association partnered with the Consulate of Peru and the Consulate of Argentina, in this cultural event organized by the Instituto Cervantes.

Deputy Consul of Perú Annie Saucedo, President of the Chicago Chapter of the Fulbright Association Mary Mares-Awe. Jane Florine, Elio Leturia, Deputy Consul of Argentina Marcelo Boffi, singer Alba Guerra and musician Juan Ignacio Jones surrounded by Fulbright scholars.

Deputy Consul of Perú Annie Saucedo, President of the Chicago Chapter of the Fulbright Association Mary Mares-Awe. Jane Florine, Elio Leturia, Deputy Consul of Argentina Marcelo Boffi, singer Alba Guerra and musician Juan Ignacio Jones surrounded by Fulbright scholars.

Elio Leturia is the Communications Director of the Chicago Chapter of the Fulbright Association and the recipient of the 2013 Fulbright Dee Sarelas Service Award. A native Peruvian, Leturia is an Associate Professor in Journalism at Columbia College Chicago.

Peruvian Deputy Consul Annie Saucedo, documentarian Elio Leturia and performer Alba Guerra.

Peruvian Deputy Consul Annie Saucedo, documentarian Elio Leturia and performer Alba Guerra.

Photos by Mary Mares-Awe and Todd Burbank

Cyber Security for International Education Week

The Chicago Cultural Center

The Chicago Cultural Center

By Mary Mares-Awe—TO CELEBRATE INTERNATIONAL Education Week, the Board of the Chicago Chapter of the Fulbright Association, in partnership with World Chicago, and the Institute of International Education (IIE), invite you to a Panel Presentation on Cyber Security.

The area of cyber security of concern to virtually everyone using the internet.  We rely on the internet for communication, commerce, education, work, and data storage. However, with the extensive usage of digital data, there is an ever-increasing risk of personal information and intellectual property being compromised by cyber-based attacks. Cyber security involves protecting our information by preventing, detecting, and responding to online threats.

Yilmaz Halac

Yilmaz Halac

The event will feature an expert panel presentation led by an FBI Special Agent who will discuss Cyber Security at the personal level, and provide tips on how individuals can stay safe online. Another member of the panel, Mr. Then Yilmaz Halac, will speak about Security at the public safety level, using his experience as the Managing Deputy Director for the 911 center, during the NATO summit in Chicago.

This will be an excellent opportunity, to learn about this important topic from highly respected experts in the field of cyber security.

WHAT Panel discussion on Cyber Security, Q&A, and networking.

WHEN Thursday, November 17, 2016  |  5:00pm-7:00pm

WHERE  The Chicago Cultural Center
1st Floor Garland Room
78 E. Washington St.
Chicago, IL 60602

Use www.transitchicago.com to plan your route.

Refreshments will be served.

COST  FREE for current visiting Fulbright Students, Scholars, and Teachers. The cost is $10 for Fulbright alumni, each adult family member, and/or guest(s).

RSVP by November 15, 2016  using the form below.
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSesggzHV4DgnX2IggmNPWizfsDVbbEnwMTWeJRlzqytw-2tVw/viewform

You may pay in person with cash, credit  card, or online using PayPal (+$1 processing fee) after you submit this form.

Chicago Chapter welcomes new Fulbrighters to Chicago with a luncheon celebration

The 2016 Spring Farewell started at the Jane Addams Hull Museum

The 2016 Spring Farewell started at the Jane Addams Hull House Museum

By Mary Mares-Awe—SIXTY FOUR FULBRIGHT alumni, students, scholars, and friends of the association attended the 2016 Fall Welcome that took place on Sunday October 16 with a visit to the Jane Addams Hull House Museum on the campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago. The museum tour was followed by a luncheon at Francesca’s on Taylor, located in the Little Italy neighborhood adjacent to the university.

The Jane Addams museum is open from Tuesdays to Sundays.

The Jane Addams museum is open from Tuesdays to Sundays.

Fulbright Association Chicago-Chapter President Mary Mares-Awe and bard member Kari Burnett

Fulbright Association Chicago-Chapter President Mary Mares-Awe and board member Kari Burnett

At the Jane Addams museum, visitors got a first-hand look at the objects and memorabilia of the social worker’s original home. Jane Addams is a notable figure in Chicago’s history and on the international stage for her work with the immigrant communities, who were settling Chicago in the late 1800 and early 1900’s. Her pioneering work in social justice helped improve the lives of immigrants through education, skills training and family care. She is the first American woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

At Francesca's Restaurant in Little Italy

At Francesca’s Restaurant in Little Italy

Following the museum visit, the attendees took a walk through Little Italy to Francesca’s restaurant at 1400 W. Taylor Street. There they were greeted at the door by Cristina Sisson Tamm, the chapter’s Treasurer, and by Teuta Peja, a Fulbright student who is the newest member of the board’s membership committee.

Board members of the Chicago Chapter Kari Burnett, Meredith McNeil, Mary Mares-Awe and Marilyn Susman.

Board members of the Chicago Chapter Kari Burnett, Meredith McNeil, Mary Mares-Awe and Marilyn Susman enjoying an Italian meal.

At Francesca’s, the guests enjoyed authentic northern Italian meal including pasta, meatballs, salad and a wonderful and delicious tiramisù for desert.

Meatballs, anyone?

Meatballs, anyone?

In an informal speech at the start of the luncheon, the chapter’s president, Mary Mares-Awe, welcomed everyone and encouraged the new visiting Fulbright students and scholars to enjoy many of the iconic elements of the American culture. “If I could give you one piece of advice, it’s to take the opportunity to really absorb the best the American culture has to offer without comparing,” she said. Mary went on to mention some of the American classics such as jazz and baseball, namely the Chicago Cubs — which brought a rousing round of applause, acknowledging the teams winning streak.

Chicago Chapter Treasurer Cristina Sisson (second on the right) with Fulbright scholars.

Chicago Chapter Treasurer Cristina Sisson (second on the right) with Fulbright scholars.

The pleasant and warm atmosphere of Francesca’s proved conducive to lively, friendly conversations, and real Fulbright camaraderie on a fall Sunday afternoon in Chicago.

Past Chicago Chapter President Margo Rothschild (second on the left) with Fulbright scholars

Past Chicago Chapter President Margo Rothschild (second on the left) with Fulbright scholars

Fulbright students and scholars at Francesca's Restaurant in Little Italy

Fulbright students and scholars at Francesca’s Restaurant in Little Italy

Fulbright students and scholars at Francesca's Restaurant in Little Italy

Fulbright students and scholars at Francesca’s Restaurant in Little Italy

Fulbright students and scholars with Chicago Chapter President Mary Mares-Awe at Francesca's Restaurant in Little Italy

Fulbright students and scholars with Chicago Chapter President Mary Mares-Awe at Francesca’s Restaurant in Little Italy

Fulbright students and scholars at Francesca's Restaurant in Little Italy. Kevin Spitta (first on the right) has joined the communications efforts for the chapter.

Fulbright students and scholars at Francesca’s Restaurant in Little Italy. Kevin Spitta (first on the right) has joined the communications efforts for the chapter.

Group photo showing the international Fulbright spirit!

Group photo showing the international Fulbright spirit!

Photos by Kevin Spitta

Fulbright Chicago Jazz Concert and Wine Reception

Poster design by Kevin Spitta, German Fulbrighter

Poster design by Kevin Spitta, German Fulbrighter

By Mary Mares-Awe—IN CELEBRATION OF the 5th anniversary of UNESCO designated International Jazz Day on April 30, the Chicago Chapter of the Fulbright Association in partnership with 90.9fm WDCB Public Radio, Morgan Stanley and the Institute of International Education (IIE), would like to invite you, your family, colleagues and friends to a very special evening on the eve of International Jazz Day, featuring a live jazz performance and a post-performance wine and soft drink reception.

Grazyna Auguscik

Grazyna Auguscik

The event, featuring international recording artist and jazz performer Grazyna Auguscik will be broadcast live on 90.9fm WDCB.

Jazz has strong roots in Chicago, and international artists have come to the city to study, develop their craft and perform.  This will be a wonderful opportunity to enjoy an evening of live music at a great downtown location.

WHEN Friday, April 29, 2016

PERFORMANCE   5pm-6pm (doors open at 4:15pm)*

RECEPTION   6pm-6:45pm
*because this event will be broadcast live on public radio, NO ONE WILL BE ADMITTED  to the performance auditorium after 4:50pm.

WHERE Piano Forte Foundation, 1335 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago IL 60605

Please RSVP by clicking HERE.

COST $15 (plus $1 PayPal fee)
Seating is limited.  To guarantee a seat at the performance, please purchase your tickets in advance by clicking HERE .
You DO NOT need to have a PayPal login to pay.

We look forward to seeing you at the event!

Chicago Chapter participates in the 2016 International Women’s Day Celebration

Sheila Watt-Cloutier was the keynote speaker at the 2016 World Chicago's International Women's Day Luncheon

Sheila Watt-Cloutier was the keynote speaker at the 2016 World Chicago’s International Women’s Day Luncheon

By Mary-Mares-AweMEMBERS OF THE CHICAGO CHAPTER of the Fulbright Association and six visiting Fulbright students celebrated International Women’s day by attending the 15th annual luncheon at the Union League Club on March 8, hosted by World Chicago and the International Trade Club of Chicago.

Fulbrignt table at the 2016 International Women's Day Luncheon at the Union League Club

Fulbrignt table at the 2016 International Women’s Day Luncheon at the Union League Club

Attending the lunch were visiting Fulbrighters: Milena BerBenkova from Bulgaria, Eliana Solange from Angola, Eliane deLarminat of France, Aisa Lipscombe of New Zeland, Teuta Peja of Kosovo and Annie Khalid of Pakistan.

Representing the chapter were Mary Mares-Awe, President of the Chicago Chapter and Dr. Sandra Martins, one of the chapter’s newest members.

Mary Mares-Awe, President of the Chicago Chapter and Dr. Sandra Martins, member of the Chicago Chapter promoted the Fulbright Association at the International Women's Day Luncheon

Mary Mares-Awe, President of the Chicago Chapter and Dr. Sandra Martins, member of the Chicago Chapter promoted the Fulbright Association at the International Women’s Day Luncheon

The luncheon featured Nobel Peace Prize nominated author and, environmental and human rights advocate, Sheila Watt-Cloutier.  She is also the president of the Inuit Circumpolar Council of Canada.

During her speech Ms. Watt-Cloutier outlined the effects of human-made climate change on the lives of not only the aboriginal people of the North Pole, but on the whole world.  “The north pole is the air-conditioned of the planet”, she said and when that starts to break down the whole world feels its affects from severe weather to droughts and floods.

She also said it’s vital for the world to understand that “the actions or inactions of the global community are starting to impact very deeply the human rights of people who dependent on their environment on a daily basis”. She also added that it’s not just people who depend on their environment like the Inuit, but everyone is impacted by climate change.

TheRighttobeColdBOOKThe author emphasized the importance women can play in bringing attention to the devastating toll climate change is inflicting on people’s lives and the worldwide economy.

The visiting Fulbright students found the talk fascinating and the luncheon “just wonderful”, as one of them said. The students also expressed their gratitude to the Members of the Chicago Chapter board for their sponsorship.

Following the luncheon, students got the opportunity pose for pictures with Sheila Watt-Cloutier.  Some of them even purchased her latest book, The Right to be Cold, which she personally inscribed.

The luncheon was sponsored by the Chicago Chapter of the Fulbright Association and co-sponsored by the Institute of International Education, IIE.